By Ezrah Aharone
July 2nd, 2009 marked 45 years since President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act to initiate racial equality. This anniversary coincides with the recent Senate Resolution “Apologizing for the Enslavement and Racial Segregation of African-Americans,” which expressed America’s “recommitment to the principle that all people are created equal.” While these gestures appear impressive as political theory, in actuality, “Created Equal” on paper differs from “Created Equal” in practice.
Since Lincoln’s paperwork freed us in 1865 and Johnson’s paperwork dubbed us equal in 1964, it’s accurate to conclude that freedom and equality are not politically identical. And although “paper equality” traces to the Declaration of Independence in 1776, disparities cited in the Urban League’s State of Black America 2009, verify that racial equality is still a dream yet deferred. But if all people really are “Created Equal” why then has equality been a drip, drip, drip process for us?
Foremost, there’s probably no other phrase in world history that’s been more misconstrued than these 13 words of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
Beware and be aware whenever you hear this expression being quoted in isolation because, “Created Equal” does not standalone as a singular ideal unto itself. It rather is a supportive detail of a much larger political argument of Euro-Americans, intended to justify their rights and entitlements to “Sovereign Equality” with world governments and nations. Their aim, as the document continues, was to “Dissolve political bands” with their British kinfolk, and “Assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them.”
In no sense whatsoever does the document profess equality or civil rights sentiments as historically espoused by African Americans. But before anyone labels me divisive, I’m simply recounting the document’s historical circumstances and factual context, which inarguably petitions independence, not integration.
Race ultimately entered the document’s equation because, within America’s contrived expanse of nationbuilding, slavery and segregation were eco-political industries that were “too big to fail” . . . meaning that supplementary investments (more drips of equality) became necessary during the 1960s to further solidify our labor and loyalty. So, after centuries of policies that “prohibited civil rights,” the government flipped-the-script and craftily reinvented the interpretation of “Created Equal,” by concocting it into a modern-day integrationist slogan that seemingly “advocates civil rights.”
Johnson’s legislation brought tears of African-American joy, allowing the government to pat itself on the back with perceived credibility. Governments however, deserve no more “credit” for treating people civilly, than a man deserves “credit” for not battering his wife. Why? Because men should not abuse women in the first place, and honorable governments would never make people “struggle” for civil rights.
Like the “battered wife” syndrome when women treasure any relief, we comparatively emerged from a “battered history” syndrome where we naturally treasure the relief of civil rights. But there’s nothing extraordinary about civil rights. Civil rights are mere human decencies that should be intrinsic to all interrelations between every government and society. If after centuries, a people must still protest and prod a government over issues of civil rights, then – “They Are Not Equal” – they are in a massively unprincipled political relationship.
While well-financed groups like the 100-year-old NAACP and Tavis Smily’s State of the Black Union gather annually with national platforms, part of the collective agenda of all Black organizations should ascertain measurable, achievable standards of what constitutes “21st-Century Equality,” along with what this demands of the government and requires of ourselves.
This charge is necessary because the measures and responsibilities of freedom today exceed those of the 1860s and 1960s. Being equal-enough to sit in the front of a bus in the 1960s, is now more cosmetic, considering the ever-intricate webbings of geopolitics that grip Africa and control the oil, chromium, and rubber for its tires.
Also, contrary to “post-racial” notions that stem from Obama’s presidency, our pursuit of equality is gradually making us become more like Euro-Americans, instead of equal to them. The Black faces you see sprinkled within the Democratic hierarchy are not indicators of the Party’s “equal commitment” to African-American ideals of governance. They rather signify our “full commitment” to Euro-American practices of governance, including needless militarism and problematic foreign policies that, for example, lopsidedly support Israel unconditionally.
In a perfect world, equality would be God-given and never violated by governments. But in this imperfect world, certain governments create political pecking orders amongst people, where equality has cutoff points and greed supersedes God. The proof and paradox is that, African Americans find ourselves still needing equality from a “Christian” government with a Black president . . . while we patiently expect the diluted 1960s version of “Created Equal” to somehow yield enough drips to “justly undo” what centuries of the authentic version has “unjustly done.”
Ezrah Aharone is the author of two political books: Sovereign Evolution and Pawned Sovereignty. This article was culled in part from Ezrah Aharone’s 2009 book, Sovereign Evolution (Chapter 2: “Governments, the Governed, and the Un-Governable”). He is also a founding member of the Center for Sovereignty Advancement. He can be reached at Ezrah@theCSA.org.